BreakthroughsToCures - What's Next?

Nov 24, 2010, 1:49 AM, Posted by

Can online game play be used to generate creative, yet substantive, solutions to complex problems? If the preliminary results from a recent crowdsourcing experiment partaken by the Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) are any indication, then we believe it may.

On two separate occasions in October and November, MRF and its partner, the Institute for the Future, hosted an online, social-media based game known as BreakthroughsToCures (read this overview for more details). We funded this “experiment” because MRF and its founder Scott Johnson are well known for seeking  nontraditional approaches to transforming health and health care. So, MRF’s idea of using a game to uncover innovative ideas for improving medical research and development appealed to us. 

Although the game’s results are still being analyzed, we can definitely say that we were inspired by the level of participation and engagement. Approximately 480 people participated in the games, generating 4,200 ideas. Jack Park, a PhD student at the UK’s Open University, emerged the winner and proved to be a wonderful champion of using game play to crowdsource ways to address serious problems. He posted a detailed report on the game and the strategy he employed to win it on his personal blog.

IFTF is currently analyzing the ideas generated. We expect results in January. For now, you can check out some of the more notable ones and take part in the continuing dialogue by visiting the game blog.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.